Monday, July 27, 2009

Reward Joe Jackson, Not Pete Rose

I am well aware of the weaknesses of the Baseball Hall-of-Fame: some players in who probably shouldn't be there; others (hello, Andre Dawson?) who absolutely should be in but are not. It's a give-and-take, and while it demonstrates the problems with halls of fame in anything, it's still an institution that I overall respect and enjoy.

However, if Selig does go through with this, all of that will be out the window. I hate Pete Rose with the heat of a thousand suns. He sucked for years in an effort to get that hit record. Unlike P.E.D. use up until recently, gambling was actually against the rules. Rose blatantly violated the rules; he knew he was doing it, and didn't care. When called on it, he lied repeatedly. The crap he offered probably played no small part in the death of Bart Giamatti, who was a great Commissioner; as an added bonus, we were bridled with Selig, who's had as many horrible missteps as he's had good ideas. "Lowlife" only begins to scratch the surface in describing Rose. It's not that the Hall of Fame or reinstatement will suddenly give validity to Rose's records and stats - they're valid with or without that recognition. It's that readmission would say, "you may be an unpardonable, destructive, arrogant, egotistical ass who is one of the worst people to happen to baseball in recent memory, but it's ok - we'll still give you what you want, even though you have gone out of your way to not deserve it." In short, it would reward a man who deserves no more rewards than what he has received. It may open the road for Joe Jackson to get in (something that should have happened decades ago), but that's a small consolation compared to indulging Rose before he dies. And that would be a sad, sad day for baseball.